How Twitter Got Me Hired!

Full Transcript of this job seeker Twitter story is below.

Hey, welcome to another edition of the podcast. I'm Chris Russell, CEO of CareerCloud. 

A few weeks ago on I spotted a story that really caught my eye. It was called "How To Use Twitter To Get Hired a Thousand Miles Away." It was written by a young woman named Lauren Pedigo, and as a recent graduate of Butler University in Indiana, she had set her sights on working in Boston after graduation. Instead of heading to the job board, she used Twitter, yes Twitter, to job search and land a position, and apparently it worked. She joins me now on the phone. Lauren, welcome to the show.

Lauren: Thank you so much for having me.

Chris:    Before we get to the story, what kind of job did you get in Boston and tell us what you do now.

Lauren: Yes. I work for a tech service company called Kinvey and we are a backend as a service platform. We are a tool, or platform, a lot more cost efficient and just all around just quicker, and used by big enterprises from Johnson and Johnson to Game Show Network and companies like that to make [inaudible 00:01:33]. I specifically work in marketing. I do dabble in a lot of different things. Working in a startup has been wonderful for that in getting to learn a lot of different aspects of a business. For my job, I specifically do some online advertising, some blog writing, marketing analytics and everything from [B generation 00:01:51]. It's been great getting to learn a whole bunch of different things and getting exposed to lots of different things in the marketing field.

Chris:    Why don't you set the scene for us. After your graduation in 2012 you started looking ... you wanted to work in Boston and you started looking in job boards, so take it from there and what ... how did you start out there with your job search?

Lauren: Sure. Like many type-a personalities, when I graduated I had my resume perfectly crafted. I had my spreadsheets, all these different color codings and I was determined to make this work. I had had some of my professors look over my resume. I went to the career services office at Butler and had them look over my resume. I'd done some mock interviews and really did my homework to really get ready for this move and to make myself as hireable as possible.

Lauren: I just remember sitting in my room, looking on Google search. I was looking at job boards like, Indeed, those kind of things. I had applied to a handful of companies, it was like three or four, and every one would email me back within a couple of hours and say, "Oh, I'm sorry. This position is already filled." You can imagine the disappointment and those were the first few things I had applied for and I was so ready, so excited about this move and everything was already full. I kind of thought, "Well, this is kind of a waste of time. These are all outdated, the websites aren't up to date," et cetera. On a whim I logged on to Twitter and searched on Twitter for Boston jobs and I was so surprised to find so many different job postings, so many different outlets, that were posting things that were of course up to date. They had been posted five minutes ago, or ten minutes ago or whatever.

Once I figured this out, I went about it as a very methodical approach to applying for these companies. One of the things I had read about best practices is you really need to tailor your resume to the company you're applying for.

Lauren: I made a serious effort to change my resume every time to use some of the keywords that were in the job posting, so that my resume seemed to match perfectly with the person they were trying to hire. I think that was something that took a lot of time, but now looking back I can see that really was one of the reasons, I think one of the reasons that I got a lot of interviews ... is because I was a perfect match for every company. A lot of recent grads don't think about doing that because it does take a little bit more work and all of that. It was something that really, I spent a lot of time on and I had this huge file on my laptop and I had all the different companies I was applying for. I had screenshots of the job descriptions and I had saved my resume in a folder and it was extremely organized. Then when I was going back and getting interviews, I had everything I needed really organized.

Chris: ... yeah, how did you search for the jobs? Tell us more about the keywords that you used, the different phrases, things like that.

Lauren: Right, so once I had decided that Twitter was the outlet that I needed to go to, at first I realized that there were handfuls of companies, or of Twitter handles that were things like Boston jobs or hot Boston jobs or Boston civic jobs, just handles like that that …

Lauren:... were only ... [inaudible 00:05:20] only to post jobs. When I had found them there were several of them. I had created a Twitter list on my own Twitter account and just followed them all. Then I would just go back every ... just about every day, if not multiple times a day, and look at postings and see if there were things in marketing or in PR or in communications since that was the field I wanted to be in.

I also realized I could search by hashtag so I was searching for groups of hashtags that were PR Boston jobs as all separate hashtags, separate words, but I was surprised to find that there were so many people tweeting those types of things. You do different variations so I was just religiously checking those over and over, several times a day and I was applying for three or four companies a day for a month. That's kind of how it happened and once I had this methodical approach, it was really easy to just keep checking and keep looking. Sometimes you'd see jobs that you already had found ...

Lauren:... you know, "There's no more today, so I need to just cool it for today and look tomorrow after [inaudible 00:06:29] to post things."

Chris:    So you definitely found that ... it seems like you thought the postings on Twitter were more real time, more up to date than the ones you were seeing on job boards. Is that correct?

Lauren: Yes, absolutely. I [inaudible 00:06:44], I had found ... it was just one of the employees had tweeted out a job posting and I had tweeted back at her ... she was younger too, she was in her twenties, so she was about my age ...another recent grad, but she worked with this company. We were tweeting back and forth and she actually offered me to send her my resume to look at before I applied. Then we had a separate email exchange before I applied and I ended up having six interviews with that company. Sometimes I think there's just extra communication like that that was really helpful and just kind of [inaudible 00:07:13] in just meeting people.

Chris:    You connected with an actual person at a company through Twitter that had you send them your resume first before you applied.

Lauren: Yes, that was only one case.

Lauren: That was only specific company and I didn't end up working for that company, but it was still just really helpful to get my foot in the door and have someone else look at my resume.

Chris:    Okay.

Lauren: Just, you know, part of the process.

Chris:    You do all this from ... you were still living in Indianapolis at the time. Talk about ... and you talk about in the article about how you sort of change the location on your resume. Give us some tips around that on what you did as far as putting ... I guess you said you lived in Boston, but you really weren't there. Talk about that briefly.

Lauren: I just read all these articles on best practices for getting a job in the city, all those kinds of things. I just kept seeing a similar theme of you need to have a local address because companies will see that you're far away and they will immediately throw your resume out and [inaudible 00:08:11] people look at your resume for an average of six seconds or something. You've really got to get them right at the beginning.

Chris:    Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Lauren:    I had found ... this person was like three people removed. A friend of a friend of a friend, I never met this person, I didn't know them, I still don't know them, but they had a local address and they didn't mind if I used them. I put this address on my resume and ... that was also a big turning point too because as soon as I changed my address from Indianapolis, I immediately started getting some emails back and some feedback. In that first email exchange I would explain, "Hey, I don't live in Boston right now, I'm moving next month. I will be there in three weeks to do an interview." I really made it very clear because I didn't want this to be ... I didn't want this relationship with my employer to start out as dishonest or anything like that …

Chris:    Right.

Lauren:... so I was very clear like, "Hey, this is my friend's address. I'll be coming soon. Here is the days I will be here visiting to interview." That was also important is that I had planned out, even before I had any interviews scheduled, I had planned a trip to Boston to interview.

Chris:    How many total interviews did you get from this whole process?

Lauren: Sure. I applied to sixty two companies, and I had this big spreadsheet so it's pretty accurate ... sixty two companies and I just ended up doing sixteen interviews in total. Some of those were repeat interviews, second and third round interviews with companies.

I remember one of the trips we did out there, I think I did five interviews in one day and that was the most [inaudible 00:09:50] exhausting day. It was so long, but in the end it all worked out because I ended up getting the job that I really wanted and I'm really happy with the company that I'm at.

Chris:    That's a pretty good ROI there on your efforts …

Lauren:Yeah. It was pretty good. [crosstalk 00:10:05]

Chris:    ... sixteen interviews.

Lauren: Yeah, and sometimes some of the interviews I went to, within a couple of ... ten minutes or so, I was like, "Okay, this isn't the job that I thought I was applying for. This isn't the type of company." You kind of get those not great matches, but overall I was looking at it as any interview I'm doing is practice for ... just practice in general and being a recent grad that was important. To keep [inaudible 00:10:27] positive attitude because I'm going to get something out of it.

Chris:    Cool. Did you use any sort of social media tools to keep track of all these job feeds or was it just basically using itself as the main tool?

Lauren: I just used I definitely had used tools like Hootsuite and TweetDeck and those kinds of things, but for this I just used, and the Twitter list, and an Excel spreadsheet.

Chris:    Cool. If you could, just sort of sum up the tactics that you did in this job search strategy for us.

Lauren:The first thing I did was have my resume thoroughly prepped and just have several pairs of eyes looking at it and getting all the typos, and vetting it for any type of errors. Also when I was looking for jobs on Twitter, I figured out the Twitter handles that I wanted to be following and I created a Twitter list of them. I would also have a group of hashtags for different topics and just religiously be checking those over and over, once a day, a couple times a day... and applying to anything that was relevant. I also say just keep applying to as many jobs as you can find because ... cast your net out there before you get anything good. That was also someting that I was applying for jobs even if I didn't think they were a perfect fit because when you're moving to a city, it's great to meet people even if it doesn't end up being the job.

Chris:    Right.

Lauren: I would say also use a local address, but I was honest about it. I wasn't shady about it and was very up front with, "I'm moving, but this is a serious move. I'm definitely making this happen."

Chris:    Yeah. Any advice for moving across country like that? What did you learn about having to move for a job? Anything?

Lauren: Yeah, I would say one of the things that we did that was pretty smart is we asked our coworkers about specific neighborhoods. Once we had our jobs, they moved with a friend of mine …

Chris:    Okay.

Lauren:... and once we had our jobs we asked our coworkers and bosses about specific neighborhoods to live in. I had been here, been to Boston once when I was in sixth grade, so I didn't know anything about the city really. We had asked our coworkers, "What areas are the more affordable areas, that young people live in, that are safe?" and got those recommendations. That was really helpful.

Chris:    Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Lauren: I would also say it was helpful for us to come a couple times before we moved so that when we did move it didn't feel quite so foreign. It was a little like I knew some of the areas, I knew some of the streets and that kind of thing. I came and visited twice before I did [inaudible 00:13:01] interviews , before I moved for sure.

Chris:    Cool.

Lauren: I would say those are the two pieces of advice that I would give.

Chris:    All right. How about just some last words of advice for job seekers out there. What would you say to a job seeker that is looking for work right now and maybe doesn't really care about Twitter too much?

Lauren: I would say just apply, apply, apply. Even if you don't think the job is a perfect fit, sometimes thing surprise you. I never thought I'd be working for an enterprise IT company, but I'm really enjoying it and getting to learn a ton. I would just say apply and I'd also say a face to face conversation is going to beat a Twitter conversation any day … so use your resources and as around. If you know people in the field that you want to be in, do informational interviews and just build up your network of people. Eventually I think those people that you had built relationships with will lead you to something that is in your field. If you go at it with an honest approach, and just want to learn more about the field, or the company or whatever, humans are a far better resource than any kind of technology.

Chris:    Well, it's certainly an interesting story, Lauren. I've often thought about Twitter as a job search tool and it's not exactly the easiest way to search for a job, but you definitely proved me wrong so kudos to you.

Lauren: Thanks.